Author Archives: Mick Kenyon

How to Blog

How to Blog– To create that perfect blog firstly the content should be unique and interesting and you will need a photo or two to help.  But thats only the start, you will want to layout the page so people searching on the internet can also find the subject you are writing the blog about. So in this example, I am using the term or phrase ‘How to Blog’  to show you ‘how to blog’!

How to Blog

Include an infographic or image in your blog

How to Blog

The page name also known as the URL needs to include the subject so an example might be :
“http://mickkenyon.com/blog/how-to-blog” words should be separated using hyphens ‘-‘. There is a great article by Moz here on URL’s

# You will also want to use the ‘H tags” these are headline tags and can be used as you would titles in a book  H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 tags. The chapter-title is a H1 tag. All the subchapters have an H2 tag. If these subchapters have another sub-area then this would be marked up with an H3 tag and so on. you define a H tags in HTML by adding <h1>How To Blog</h1> Please don’t feel you have to use all the H tags, but a minimum should be at least 1 x H1 tag and 1x H2 tag. more information can be found here on H -tags
# The next thing is to do is ensure that the phrase you are blogging about is included in the first sentence of your blog.
# I like to add a photograph or infographic after the first paragraph, search engines can’t read photographs so you need to tell them about the photograph. When adding photos, name the photograph something that is meaningful ( e.g in my case ‘blog’) make sure you also add an ‘alt tag’, you might want to use your blog title as the Alt tag. If you can, also add the description fields into the metadata of the photograph or infographic.

Blog photo metadata

This shows a wordpress illustration for showing how to add the metadata to your blog images

Before your publish your blog also add a meta-description, this is what the search engines will display next to a link to your post on search engine result pages. Make it descriptive about your post in less than 156 characters.

Once published don’t forget to shout about it, use social media to link to your posts, facebook, Google+ and twitter are all good for doing this.

Blog Page Layout Example

Ideally get the key phrase into your blog about six times. Try not to repeat it much more than this as it might be deemed as ‘keyword stuffing’, and this usually results in a less well optimised page.  The post should have a minimum of about 300 words, and not much more than 500 words. It is also a good idea to reference other sources of information and include links to trustworthy sources of information websites.

The perfectly search engine optimised page for ‘How to Blog’ might look like

Page URL = http://mickkenyon.com/blog/how-to-blog
Page title =  How to Blog – Mick Kenyon
H1 tag  = How to Blog

H1 = How to blog ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ how to blog. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ blog ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________how to blog.
IMAGE name = “how-to-blog.jpeg

____________________________ blog _____________________________________ how to blog _____________________________________

H2 = Blog Page Layout

_______________________ blog page layout ________________________________________________ blog___________________page layout ________________________________

Image name  = ‘Page Layout’

______________________blog page layout

Please visit my page on SEO 

 

 

How To Get Your Website Noticed

How to get your Website noticed.

If you were to ask this question to a lot of experts they would probably say get good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Well they are not wrong but I would also add you need to increase your visibility which is far more broad reaching than just SEO for your website. So lets have a look at what I mean by broadening your visibility on the web, leaving the subject of traditional SEO until last.

How do you increase visibility on the web?

Well to get your website noticed you need to create interest and this comes in many forms.

Get noticed on the web

Its not all about SEO

Social Media

There are loads of social media websites (facebook, twitter, pinterest, linkdin etc etc.)  but before you go and sign up to them all just take a minute to think about it.  Your website is possible aimed at certain interest groups, these might be targeted by age and location as well as interests. Have a think about what type of social media tool your customers may use (example teens probably like snapchat – older customers probably have never heard of it!), use the same tools as your customers. Use tools that you can target your audience (facebook campaigns and twitter advanced search are pretty good at this). Don’t overdo signing up to all social media sites, you just wont keep up to them all,  instead pick 2 or 3 and make sure you keep active on them.

Google+

This one gets a special mention even though it is technically a social media site, it is also a very important social media site as it helps your visibility on search! Once you have a Google+ account consider setting up a Google my Business account, get this verified and make sure you get a 100% complete profile.  Google takes this information and populates Google Local searches with it (opening hours, telephone numbers, website address etc.) plus once you get your head around it, it isn’t as bad as some people might say, and it has some pretty great tools!

Google+ profile information search results

Screenshot of how Google picks up information from your Google+ page

Blogs

Blog about a subject that you are an expert in and then share a link to it from the social media account you have just set up! The idea here is that people will like what you are writing and want to share it. This is sometimes known as citations, people saying check this great blog out by you.  Consider adding a blog into your website, wordpress can usually be embedded quite easily particularly if your website has cpanel.

SEO

Well this is the big one, it’s all about getting things right on your website. The easiest way to understand SEO is to think what you would like to see from a website. The answer is probably content rich, good advice that can be trusted.  My big tip here is Google likes honesty, it likes to know it can trust your website for good content and a current information. So don’t start thinking about how to trick Google (you will get into their bad books) think instead how you can prove to them that you are a good website that can be trusted.  Keep it honest, interesting and keep it up to date

Simplicity

Simple URL’s (keep them short and only use keywords). Make sure the URL describes in one word (or two) what your page is about.  If you are using two words separate the words with’-‘ Make the navigation buttons and menu buttons big enough to see and select. Add relevant ‘titles’ to your content to explain the following paragraphs. Keep the content useful and concise and add links to other articles that maybe of use. Add good quality images, use description and meta- tags to describe them. Make sure it can easily be used on all viewing devices

Honesty

Don’t copy someone else’s work, keep it unique and good quality. Don’t try to trick google by getting other sites to add links to your website from poor quality websites. Allow comments and respond (even to bad comments). Show your real, demonstrate by showing videos and photos of you and your business. Encourage customers to leave feedback on quality review sites(google+, tripadvisor etc. ) and keep being interactive on your website and social media.

Directory Links

If you needed a business in the area where would you search?  Probably some sort of directory, get your business added to the good quality ones (Yell, Thompson, Scoot, etc.) often these sites will add links to your website, make sure the directory has a good ranking. Don’t ever be tempted to subscribe to bulk link websites (those that sell 1000 ‘quality website links for £5). they are tosh and can damage your rankings!

For more information and help on improving the visibility of your website call Mick on 07738 255499 or visit http://mickkenyon.com/seo.html

 

Website design for accommodation in the Lake District.

Website design for accommodation in the Lake District.

Lake District Accomodation Website Design

Make sure photos show your accommodation rather than stock photography to build up customer confidence

To maximise your booking potential of an accommodation website you will need a great looking website with secure on-line booking.  Being in the Lake District you will also need an eye catching website design with great photographs tailored to your accommodation whether it be  self catering, bed and breakfast, guesthouse, hotel or a country inn. Accommodation websites should be strong on their visual element,  they should show the beauty and what the Lake District has to offer along with the features you accommodation offers. A tip here is to target your type of customer, are your main core of customers sightseers, active couples, families etc? Tailor the feel and the look of your web site to the customers you attract, this will also help on SEO.

Mick Kenyon website design and photography for the complete website design package tailored to your accommodation business .. tel 07738 255499 for your your Free no obligation quote.

Websites now need to be mobile friendly, this is particularly important for accommodation web sites as research and many bookings are made direct from smart phones. Since 21 April 2015 Google changed the  ranking system and so mobile friendly websites now fair a lot better in showing  up on search results if they adhere to the Google mobile friendly guidelines. There are hundreds if not thousands of accommodation websites in the Lake District so any advantage should be exploited. You can check on whether a web site is mobile friendly here

Getting your Accommodation Website Discovered

Great SEO is the next step to get your web site noticed, with so much competition in the lake district you need to box clever.  If you target just accommodation you are competing with lots of other lake district accommodation sites so you are more likely to have success by targeting specific customer groups. e.g ‘fishing holidays in the lake district’  will be easier to get higher search rankings than ‘lake district holidays’.

Once the customer has discovered your accommodation website you literally have seconds to make an impression or the customer or they will leave and look elsewhere.  Photographs sell the dream to your customers and build confidence, try to avoid stock photography as these can reduce the customer confidence. Photographs on your website are one of your biggest asset to enticing customers to book with you, make them relevant to your type of customer and accommodation. Photographs should be of your property and your local area in the Lake District. The other big ‘must’ is on-line booking, people like to see availability immediately and expect to be able to book immediately.

lake district accommodation

Include photographs of bedrooms

Photography tips for Accommodation Web Sites

Self catering accommodation should show the facilities at there best, if you have a fire or log burning stove this should be lit when photographs are taken. Beds should be made and tables set. Its always a nice touch to add flowers and a bottle of wine. Photographs should be well focused, shallow depth of field can be used on features to make them stand out. If possible avoid using flash, this can be achieved using the manual settings (try using bracketed exposures),  if flash is used diffuse it to stop flares in the picture to give natural light feeling.
Guesthouses and B&Bs should have pictures of the rooms well laid out, fresh clean towels should be present on the bed and add a splash of colour to the rooms such as flowers and vibrant art.  Avoid pictures of the loo unless it is extra special, it’s better to have a hint, maybe an ensuite sign.
Hotels should show the room and the best features from around the hotel, such as the bar area, restaurants and leisure facilities. Add to these photographs of art etc.

You should also add photos to the website aimed at your type of clientele, for the active types you may include photos of walking boots, mountain bikes etc. if it is aimed at romantic breaks photos of roses and wine bottles and for families include teddies, and kid friendly features.

For a website tailored to your requirements including photography and on-line booking contact Mick Kenyon on 07738 255499.

 

 

 

4 Ways to Increase your Accommodation Bookings

Here are 4 Ways on how to increase accommodation bookings at your B&B,  Guesthouse, Hotel or self catering property.  There are a number of ways to increase your presence and get more visible on the web which will lead to more interest and booking for your B&B, Guesthouse, Hotel or self catering accommodation.

4 Ways to increase your bookings

  1. Make sure your B&B, Guesthouse, Hotel or Self Catering Accommodation website looks good, has easy navigation and eye catching quality photographs.
  2. Secure online booking, if you don’t have a booking system people will go elsewhere finding accommodation that can be booked direct online
  3. Is it a mobile friendly website? This is getting more important than ever with new changes being introduced by Google.
  4. Registered it on Google+ and make sure your Google + page is complete. Ensure you include a phone number so people can call your B&B, Guesthouse, Hotel or self catering accommodation straight from their mobile.
4 ways to increase bookings

Make sure good quality images are used on your website, avoid stock photographs.

Your website should invite people into your B&B, Guesthouse, Hotel or Self Catering Accommodation. People viewing it need to feel they can trust your business.  It is important to have original photography of your accommodation, make sure it is great quality and avoid using stock photography which people just don’t trust. Colours of your website are really important, don’t use too bold colours, blue is often seen the colour as the colour that people most trust. Make sure the font is big enough and links can easily be found to help navigation around the website.

People like to be able to see if the accommodation is available straight away for B&B, Guesthouse, Hotel or self catering accommodation. In general they don’t like to phone to check on availability, they want to see it straight away online, whats more they also want to book it straight away.  The best way to do this is to include an online booking service on your website, there are many out there, some charge commission and some don’t such as Freetobook.  Make sure you embed the booking service into your website and clearly show it on your website.

More and more people are turning to there friend in the pocket for help on finding that perfect B&B,  Guesthouse, Hotel or self catering property to stop. In fact sixty five percent of people who book a hotel room within 24 hours of their stay do so from a mobile device. From April 21st 2015 Google change the search rankings for mobile devices, if your website is not a responsive layout or has a dedicated mobile design platform you will not be as visible on Google as those that do (your competitors). You can check to see if your website is mobile friendly by clicking on the link here for the Google Mobile Friendly Test. If your not mobile friendly you can check out advice on being  mobile friendly.

The final tip is to get your business registered on Google+ (Google plus). By having a verified business your B&B,  Guesthouse, Hotel or self catering property is more likely to be shown on the first page of search results and included in the panel of 7. You can register your business on GMB (Google my Business) for free and it could be he best investment of an hours work you will make.

For further information or if you want a FREE quote for a website design including photography please call Mick on 07738 255499. Based in Ingleton, North Yorkshire I am within easy reach of The Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District National Parks. Including the towns of Skipton, Settle, Hawes, Ingleton, Sedburgh, Kirkby Lonsdale, Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside, Grange.

 

 

Mobile Friendly

Mobile Friendly Rankings  – what it means to you.

Google have announced that from the 21st April 2015 they will reward websites that are Mobile Friendly.   Google have used some carefully chosen wording, announcing  mobile friendly designed websites will be rewarded in mobile search, rather than saying websites that are not mobile friendly will be penalised. So what does this mean? The long and short of it is that the only changes will be made to searches performed on mobile devices, search results returned on desktop computers should stop the same (for now).

Mobile Friendly Websites Rewarded

What this means is that if your website design is mobile friendly it will have a better search ranking than those websites that are not mobile friendly. We are also only talking talking mobile phones for the time being (not tablet). In essence if your website design is mobile friendly it is more likely to be returned in search results if someone is searching using a mobile phone. This is probably more important than you realise with mobile usage on the rise and many users only having mobile devices to access the web. For the the time being desktop search results will not be affected by the Google changes being introduced, it will only affect mobile search results.

Website Design Service

Website Designs will need to be mobile friendly from the 21 April 2015 to maximise your reach

 

What Makes a Website Mobile Friendly?

There are a number of factors that Google are looking for when deciding if a website is mobile friendly, the main ones being.

  • Links should not be too close together (this includes the navigation buttons)
  • Font Size – this should be clearly read-able on a mobile device
  • Playable Content – making sure that non supported content are not used (e.g flash)
  • Scaleable – make sure you can zoom in and out on content)

Google have said the mobile changes are not arbitrary, but they will affect mobile search rankings, and they may scale rankings due to the amount the website is mobile friendly. Google have said that although the changes will take place from 21 April 2015 it maybe a few days (even a week) before the changes are fully seen. Google said that the changes have been made as they recognise more people are accessing websites through mobiles than ever before and they want to reflect the user experience in the rankings. Googles preferred way of getting mobile friendly sites is for ‘responsive design websites’ although they recognise this may not suit all website designs and so as long as it is mobile friendly this will not affect the rankings. Googles last bit of advice to websmasters was not to concentrate on the new algorithm but to concentrate on getting good mobile friendly designed websites.

mobile friendly tool

Test your website to see if it is mobile friendly.

How to Check if Your Website is Mobile Friendly?

There are three ways to check
#1 search for your website on your mobile phone – in the serach results next to your website in the description snippet it will indicate ‘mobile friendly websites’
#2 Use the Google mobile friendly tool here and enter your website address
#3 Check in the websmaster tools to see if your site is mobile friendly.

What Happens if Website is not Mobile Friendly?

The results in the tool or webmaster tool will tell you what is wrong, you should either fix the errors yourself or inform your webmaster or webdesigner.

Mick Kenyon Website Designer, based in Ingleton, covering North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire for affordable mobile friendly websites. Call 07738 255499

 

 

Photography Studio Ingleton

Studio Photography in the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria

Studio photography in the Yorkshire Dales

Photography Studio Ingleton Now Open For Business

I am really pleased to announce that I have now added Studio Photography to the list of services I provide.  This not only compliments the photography service that I already offer but also goes hand in hand with the website design by being able to provide both portrait and product photography for website design.  Obviously the studio will also be available for photographic and product photo shoots regardless of wether a website has been commissioned.

The Studio

You will find the the studio relaxed and friendly with photos tailored to your needs, whether it is professional business photos or just for fun, no problem. The photography studio is located in Ingleton in the ‘i centre’, the ‘i centre’ is a not for profit scheme that supports start up and local business.  The scheme has allowed me to keep overhead costs to a minimum allowing me to provide a very competitively priced photographic studio service.

The studio is well equipped with both 500w and 400w strobe flash units with modelling lights, soft boxes, umbrellas (both reflective and shoot through) and a large 3m backdrop with white, black and a warm mid-tone colour.  I also can offer flexibility in the room used as a studio, with main room being  8 x 7 meters but other larger rooms are also available. A cookery room (fully equipped kitchen) is also available for food photography. The i centre is well equipped with the use of showers, a gym and a bakery/cafe all on-site.

I am also working with an experienced stylist, so catalogue shoots and model work are no problem.

Girl jumping in the air in the photographic studio

Fun photography or business

Photo Studio Services

  • Catalogue
  • Product
  • Portraits
  • Headshots
  • Family Portraits
  • Pet Portraits
  • School Photos
  • College Photos
  • On Location
  • Food Photography
  • Model portfolio

The Photo studio equipment is also mobile, so on location shoots can also be done, ideal for workplace, schools and college.

Ingleton is just 30 mins drive from the M6 motorway (Lancaster turn off) and is a pretty Yorkshire Dales Village, although  Ingleton is in North Yorkshire it also borders Cumbria and Lancashire.  The studio is less than hours drive  from Kendal, Lancaster and Skipton areas. There is lots of guest houses and hotels in Ingleton should the work require an overnight stop.

Photos for Your Website

How to choose photos for your website

Choosing the right Photos for your website will increase customer confidence and reflect a professional business.

Choosing the right photo’s for your website is important and even possibly the most important part of designing a good website and it’s not just about the website looking good, photo’s can really help your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Here is why.

  • A good image keeps the audience engaged, a photograph with a caption is read more than the body of the text.
  • An eye catching headline photo is likely to invite your audience to investigate your website further, possibly by up to 300%.
  • A portrait photo of you and your team builds trust. Displaying either a generic, or staff photo on your site will inspire more trust from 79% of consumers. Source on  how a photograph builds trust by Bright Local).
  • A good photograph builds trust in the product
  • A picture paints a thousand words and they can be read in a matter of seconds!
  • Adding images with good Alt descriptions will increase your SEO.
add a portrait photo to give customer confidence

Include a photo of yourself to add customer confidence.

Getting ideas of photos for your website?

Well you could search Google images for a source of inspiration, but I would not recommend that you use these on your website, many images are copyrighted and popular photos are used on many other websites (and probably the same line of business as you), neither reflect well on your brand.
Stock photography is also an option, but stock photography is often dull and the better ones over used. Stock photography does not showcase your brand
Another research option to get inspiration is to use the Google keyword search, you can find out what people are searching for when finding business like yours, and tailor the photograph to reflect that. A unique good quality original photo tailored to show your business works well when used with ‘alt tag’ including the keyword to describe the photograph.

Bright marketing photo with shallow depth of field

Add bright in focus photographs with shallow depth of field

So What makes a good photo for your website?

  • Unique photograph
  • Focused on a point in the photo, shallow depth of field photos are popular (those that have
  • sharp focus but blurry back grounds).
  • Photos that are bright.
  • Relevant photos that get the message across.
  • Include a caption below the image.
  • At all costs avoid poor quality, they might be okay on Facebook and Twitter but on your website it de-values your brand and can harm your professionalism.

I put the question out to a Google+ forum (Local SEO Pros), here are the top 9 tips they came back with for making photography work for you.
1. Don’t use stock photos
2. We are attracted to individuals not groups, so bring in personality into your photo’s
3. Show photo’s of someone using your product/service
4. Have the person looking towards your call-to-action button
5. Show emotions in photo’s, but keep them natural looking.
6. Show a photo of how their life is after using your product/service
7. We are attracted to people like us – make sure your photos are of people who look like your ideal customer.
8. Showcase the bigger brands you work with, testimonials and awards.
9. Social proof – we are influenced by what others are doing. Highlight your most popular product (“this is a community favorite”). Use user photos & videos along with reviews and ratings “225,000 of your peers have this, would you like it as well…”

Mickkenyon.com professional website design and photography based in Ingleton, North Yorkshire, webdesign and photography for the North of England.

 

 

Google Local Searches

Google added a new algorithm to the UK search engines in December 2014 they called it Google Pigeon, this has a massive impact on Google Local Searches.

What are Google Local Searches?

Google Local searches are when someone searches for something location based (geographical searches), so for instance you might type ‘Cafes in Manchester’, this will then return the results based on Manchester + Cafes.  Another local search is now available using generic searches on mobile devices, you now only need to type ‘cafes’ and if you don’t specify an area Google will use your current location to return the cafes in the area you are currently at. Google say that ‘as many as 1 in 3 searches are now location based’, so it makes sense to get your ‘local searches’ in order.

Google Local Search Results Manchester cafes

Google search for Cafes Manchester are displayed in the 7 panel and maps

What is Google Pigeon

Google pigeon is an algorithm that ranks websites for local factors, those sites that are ‘Pigeon’ friendly are more likely to be show in search results that are location based. These results may be returned in search result panels, the top 7 search panel or on Google maps as pins.

The Google Pigeon is Evolving

The pigeon is evolving, Google are tweaking the algorithm all the time, a recent addition is now to show price range on results when a search for accommodation is performed as in the example below for a search ‘Hawes Accommodation’. The price  feeds from accommodation booking sites e.g booking.com, laterooms.com and is shown under the web address. This allows ‘searchers’ to click on the link and directly book via the agency.

Accommodation search showing prices

Search performed for accommodation in Hawes now shows the price range.

How to improve your Google Local Search ranking

There are lots of things you should do, but probably the most important start is to get your Google+ page complete. Google bases a lot of its results on what it finds on your Google+ page, opening hours, telephone number, address and more.  The other thing is to get a good website that operates well across all devices whether it be Desktop, tablet or mobile. Another good tip is to get listed on key business directories (making sure you are consistent in the information you add)

There is obviously a lot more you can do to improve your chances on getting shown on Google Searches, there are no guarantees but you can certainly increase your chances of getting ranked.

Please feel free to drop me a line or give me a call to have a chat.